The Art of Time Ensemble is a group of Canada-based classical, jazz and pop musicians, founded in 1998 by pianist and artistic director, Andrew Burashko. The album Ain’t Got Long fuses their different styles together to create a distinctive musical language.
The ensemble reimagines memorable tracks by stars such as Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Robert Johnson, Radiohead, The Gershwins and Irving Berlin, and they certainly add their own touch. Each composition explores stylistic fusion exceptionally, which is what founder Burashko aims for: opening the minds of listeners to fresh, new approaches to music as art.
The album starts with the title track Ain’t Got Long, an expansive number showcasing the numerous innovations in instrumentation to come. Most of the rest of the album establishes a haunting atmosphere, with rich, longing vocals supported by the orchestra. Particularly powerful is the dissonance in the string section in What’ll I Do, which hints at serialism. Other tracks, such as Calling All Angels, fuse traditional pop with harmonious strings. Jessica Mitchell’s rendition of Joni Mitchell’s classic River also deserves a mention; its expansive and slightly dissonant nature transforms the piece and brings a new depth to it.
Burashko’s idea of “a world in which people seek the uncertainties and possibilities of art” is definitely created with Ain’t Got Long. Its stylistic and instrumental versatility is vibrant and new, and I think the use of multiple vocalists adds emotional diversity to an already extremely varied album. The Art of Time ensemble have certainly created (and will hopefully continue to create) timeless art.
Ain’t Got Long; Love In Vain; The Boy In The Bubble; River; Someone To Watch Over Me; Exit Music (For A Film); Calling All Angels; What’ll I Do; After Mardi Gras; Sad Song (58.00)
Collectively: Andrew Burashko (p); Davide di Renzo (d, p); Bryan Holt (clo); Shelia Jaffé, Stephen Sitarski (vn); Larry Larson (t); Peter Lutek (cl, s, bsn); Joseph Philips (b); Rob Piltch (g); Don Rooke (kona); Gregory Hoskins, Jessica Mitchell, Madeleine Peyroux, Sarah Slean (v). Toronto, 13 November 2020.